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Is prayer a big part of your romantic relationship?
A study finds praying for your other half can lead to more forgiving behavior and a more cooperative relationship.
Led by former Florida State University doctoral student Nathaniel Lambert, who is now an assistant professor at Brigham Young University, the study found those who prayed more frequently for their partner were found to be less vengeful when discussing their partner’s bad qualities.
The study involved five methods to determine whether partner-focused prayer shifts individuals toward more cooperative behaviors and tendencies.
Undergraduate volunteers at FSU, who self-identified as being comfortable with prayer, were used for the research.
“Those who prayed were found to be less vengeful
when discussing their partner’s bad qualities.”
Co-author Frank Fincham, eminent scholar and director of the FSU Family Institute, said researchers know very little about the role prayer plays in romantic relationships.
“This is the first time that objective indicators have documented the impact of prayer in such relationships,” he said.
The study points out the goal of the research was to move beyond the limitations of previous, self-reported data.
The study further notes “not all prayer is expected to have the effects observed. In particular, prayer focused on other attributes of God, such as justice, omniscience and wisdom, would not be expected to produce the same effect as prayer focused on beneficence, love or mercy.”
Lambert and his colleagues are anticipating further study, applying the same methods to an older and more ethically diverse sampling of couples to ensure the results are not limited to just young adult relationships.
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